Posts Tagged ‘Upset The Rhythm’

The World

There’s been a rash of post-punk creeping up from the gutters these days of the elastic joy ride variety. Jumping off the fertile ground that bands like ESG, Delta 5, A Certain Ratio, Maximum Joy and Au Pairs covered, the new crop has found their way to all the sandblasted bare, jitter-pop, rubber bass touchstones that made the original few so incredibly vital. What most have lacked though is the full commitment to the ’70s mantra and Downtown aesthetic. They found the grit but needed that something extra to push the paradigm to its furthest reaches. In a word, they lacked sax, and more often the paranoia a good squall could induce. The World bring both crashing down on listeners in nail biting giddy rushes that can’t elicit anything but jerking dance motions and flop sweat.

The World’s cheekily named First World Record instantly positions them among a cache of records that push punk towards new heights, absorb the anxious energy of an age and spit it back hard in the face of a populace that needs a good hard smack awake. The record is frantic, but never sloppy. It’s full of crushed aluminum edges that are rough hewn but not foreboding. Like the aforementioned Delta 5 and Maximum Joy before them they inject an vitality and tension into their work that’s incessantly itchy. They hold a cracked phone up as a mirror to a barren society that’s disorganized, disingenuous and quite possibly diseased. Still they do it with a sense of fun that’s positively infectious.

In an overstuffed 2017, this one feels like it could get lost, but its well worth some time between the speaks, jolting your week awake with blasts of horn-donked skronk and plenty of Zoloft-level anxious guitar jolts. This is probably the state of mind you need to be in to escape the misery of this foul year.




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The World – “Hot Shopper”

The World’s solidly slung EP from a short stretch back was full of taut post-punk nugs that cracked the window to their new full length for Upset The Rhythm. First single “Hot Shopper” is a spring-loaded knuckle-popper full of rubber band bass and staccato horn stabs that bring to mind Maximum Joy and A Certain Ratio. Its got a scrubbed up fidelity from the short format predecessor and bodes well for an album crackling full of the certain kind of dancefloor ozone that lived in the underground of the ’70s. If this Oakland band is missing from your radar, adjust, and quick.

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Gen Pop – “Dear Jackie”

Rising out of the ashes of the short-lived, but ferocious Vexx, Gen Pop spits out petulant noise-pop that’s chaotic and catchy. “Dear Jackie,” from the band’s debut 7″ on Upset The Rhythm, is a quick burst of shout-along punk with vocals that tumble over one another for dominance and a rumble in the rhythm that’s not without a certain ominous tension. I was sad when Vexx folded, but it’s good to know that with members MaryJane Dunphe and Ian Corrigan living on in Gen Pop, there’s hope for some more frantic tunes to come.




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Terry

RSTB is back and running after a nice vacation last week, and just in time as this week is brimming with great new releases. Melbourne’s Terry return to the fold with a new album, Remember Terry. The album generally picks up where they left off with last year’s HQ. It’s buzzing with a post-punk fever that boils over into a fugue state of countrified ambitions that set them aside from anything else in their Aussie indie scene. Their second album pushes further on all fronts, from letting in more twang to dipping further into the gnashed teeth noise of post punk’s grittier offerings.

Some of the most charming moments from Terry still come from their “gang’s all here” vocal styling, melding voices into a sing-song sway that’s easy to love and comforting as an old friend. They employ the tactic liberally, and on standouts like “Glory” it’s hard to keep the smile from forming. The Aussie underground has become its own terrain, spinning out bands that feel homespun and true in a way that hasn’t existed since the US dropped roots into its own indie/college rock boom. Al Montfort can be seen as integral to the sound, and here he’s as vital as ever, fizzing his catalog into existence with reverence to slack-pop proper and a wink to the past that fills each moment with strums and the buzz of synths. Essentially, if you liked HQ, you’ll love Remember Terry.


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Premiere: Pega Monstro – “Ó Miguel”

Lisbon duo Pega Monstro is back with a new LP for UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm. This time they’ve turned down the growl and reclined into the sunny strums of sweet-natured garage pop. It’s not a total departure from their last album, but certainly they’re entertaining the pop half of that phrase more than the garage these days. The new single, “Ó Miguel” jangles its way into your heart in barely two-minutes, but it can’t help but brighten any day. Paired with visuals from Sara Graça, the band’s video for the track comes together like a Wet Hot American Summer dance routine, silly and saccharine, but almost infectiously fun. Casa De Cima found its way out last week and if you’ve missed out, take some time to dig into the sisters’ new charmer.


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Terry – “Take Me To The City”

Al Montfort’s (presumably) incredible case of insomnia pays off to the public with the announcement of a new Terry album on the way. The man can’t sleep, because when would he have time for all this quality writing, recording and playing if his eyes ever drooped? The band’s back with their cowboy shtick in tow and another song that’s packed with a sighed delivery that plays into the lyrical lean on escapism and living life pining for some excitement. While the ten gallon hats and city lights longing don’t quite make this their “Streets of Baltimore,” it’s a buzzing bit of Aussie new wave that’s picking up right where their eponymous LP left off. The video only serves to add to the tongue in cheek winks that seems to inhabit their very DNA, but serious or no, this takes its place on the highly anticipated list for 2017.

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Premiere: Rat Colums – “Blinded By The Shadow”

One of my true faves this year has been Rat Columns’ Candle Power LP on Upset The Rhythm. The band turns in a stark video for the absolute standout, “Blinded By The Shadow. The track eschews much of the album’s propensity for jangle in favor of slinking keys and staid bass line; by the time those melancholy strings kick in, you’re more than hooked. It’s a post-punk gem that calls back on all the right bits of the ’80s for inspiration and proves that West and co are truly hitting a peak with this album. The video is as appropriately dressed down as the track, whitewashed and buttoned up. If you’re still missing out on Rat Columns, take today to right that wrong.


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Feature

One of the best bands to bubble up from the UK underground in the past few years was the high energy DIY outfit Sauna Youth. As luck would have it the band’s Jen Calleja also sports another outfit in the form of Feature. The trio embraces DIY via a feminist punk vantage and they explore the vein of sexism that permeates female musicianship on the whip-smart Banishing Ritual. Baring a few more teeth than Sauna Youth – the record is rooted in pop but not afraid to get down into the din – flaunting noise as a formidable weapon in their arsenal. Popcorn drumbeats start the tempos skittering into motion, but the guitars don’t rush, finding themselves heavily indebted to Cold Wave and Post-punk’s motorik meets elastic tension.

The record has it’s hooks (plenty actually), but it’s more about setting a mood than lingering earworms here. The band drops in bracing and brash to catch your attention and then lays into the listener with a dose of consciousness and a distortion scrub to to strip away the clutter gunking up your life. There’s been a real return to form of ’90s grunge ethos in the past couple of years, heavy blasts of guitar masking nuggets of pop bubbling under the surface. Like their predecessors in Helium, The Muffs, The Wedding Present (during their Albini dalliance) or Elastica they know how to balance pressure, power and pop into a package that’s worth returning to again and again. Another winner this year from UK label Upset The Rhythm!




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Rat Columns

Rat Columns come out strong and swooning on their third album with a charming jangler that’s evoking all my ’80s crushes; from Field Mice to Razorcuts and The Sea Urchins. And with that one setting the tone, quickly followed by the equally hazy hummer “She Loves The Rain,” it feels like one could just buckle in for the kind of true to form homage to C86 that often graces the Captured Tracks or Slumberland back catalogs. However, those who know David West, know that he’s made a career of eclecticism and where he’s been finding his footing on the last few albums and EPs, here the band begins to nail down a record collector’s guide to what made the ’80s tick.

They trade jangles for a quickened pulse of post-punk augmented with soaring strings on “Blinded By The Shadow,” giving the album a subtle about face rolling into the its middle. They knock into Saint Etienne territory on the closer and head into sparse soundtrack work on the album’s title track. West has a true penchant for finding the guiding lines between genres and styles. Where others could easily get too ambitious with melding influences that don’t always click, he massages his songs into a persona that walks well in detached cool and romantic thrall. Perhaps the only part that gets away from him a bit is indulging the length of the aforementioned closer, “Dream Tonight.” The dance jolt is a nice note to end on but as a piece of the pie it could stand a bit of slimming. That aside, Candle Power feels like a real highpoint for West, and a perfect obsession for those of us who still need a dose of Thatcher-era pulse in our lives.

Check out the RSTB premiere of “She Loves The Rain” Below:



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Rat Columns – “Someone Else’s Dream”

David West’s Rat Columns have bounced around a slew of notable labels, from R.I.P. Society to Blackest Ever Black. Though the latter seemed odd for a jangle pop band, its just another testament to their quality output (and perhaps his time spent in Total Control). The band now finds a home at UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm and it seems like a pretty perfect fit. The first single from the band’s upcoming LP, Candle Power, is a sparkling piece of jangle pop bliss that sounds like it was ripped out of the catalogs of Razorcuts, Sea Urchins or early Go-Betweens. It’s completely swathed in a rosy glow that’s hard to shake long after the last chords come clanging to an end. A swooning organ adds just the right touch of fullness to the song’s strum laden lope, clipping along atop a drumbeat that urges listeners to dance uninhibitedly at every turn. Rat Columns have been bubbling at the edges of breaking out for a few years now, but with this album on the rise, it seems like 2017 might be the year they become a household name.

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